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What Would Dubai’s “One Free Zone Passport” Really Mean?


You might have missed the news, but earlier this year it was announced that the Dubai Free Zones—DFZ—Council is more aggressively pursuing the development of a new system to streamline business licensing and incorporation. 


Their plans would allow for the creation of a free zone “passport” that would enable one business already licensed within a given free zone to operate commercially in another free zone. Traditionally, this was possible, but only if the business in question spend the time and money to obtain a second license.  


As part of its goal to become a “driver of sustainable business growth,” the Dubai Free Zones Council believes that this endeavour will go a long way towards ensuring an improved ease of operations for businesses looking to expand. 


This proposed initiative that has been picking up steam in recent months shakes up the licensing model that free zone businesses were traditionally required to go through. In the current model, a business needs to require a license to operate in their chosen free zone, of which there might be special restrictions on the activities that can be carried out. 


This means that a business licensed in one free zone might not necessarily be permitted to acquire a license in another free zone if their business activities don’t meet the requirements. The proposed One Free Zone Passport would change this to enable businesses to operate across free zones, greatly increasing the operating flexibility of businesses that make this region their home. 


Simply put, the One Free Zone Passport is designed to streamline incorporation and improve the ease of doing business across the region in order to further push Dubai forward as a market on the forefront of innovation. 


By streamlining these core aspects of business licensing, the Dubai Free Zones Council aims to encourage investment into new ventures as well as improve the ability of various free zones—and the companies that make these areas their home—to coordinate business activities with one another. With this approach, collaboration will result in greater innovation and integration between parties. 


Should the proposal go through and become reality, the results will only be positive for foreign-owned businesses looking to break into Dubai. Rather than being subject to the sometimes-restrictive regulations surrounding free zone licensing, your business will be able to operate across the region with just one single document!


This means that, even as your business continues to evolve to meet the needs of the market, it can always find a home in a location that can support its activities with minimal hassle or fuss. 


Doing business in Dubai can be incredibly complex, especially for those that are completely new to the region. Thankfullythe One Free Zone Passport initiative proposed and explored by the Dubai Free Zone Council is poised to make life much simpler for foreign-owned businesses interested in pursuing a future in the region. 


If plans are enacted and the initiative goes through, it will signal a drastic change from the status quo. It will undoubtedly be a complex transition, but you can always turn to our helpful teams for any questions or for more information about how this would affect your organisation. 


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